Thursday, December 21, 2006

Eyes are opening

I headed up to the Northeast part of the country for the past week for some much needed R & R and some introspection about where I am after 16 months. It seems I have not been able to separate myself while I'm actually in the city. Or so I discovered for the past week. I spent a little time in Virginia Beach, drove up to Atlantic City for a couple of days and then spent the rest of my time in Philadelphia.

First I was surprised that America still has cities that are functional. Lights work, things run on time, there are things to do after dark and you won't get mugged walking the dog. People are upbeat and positive- yeah even in Philly!!! I was there for 3 days and they only had 1 murder. Think about that. We go through 4 or 5 a day sometimes and we might be about a 10th of the size.

I'm not attempting to be negative. It's frankly just the reality of the situation from my perspective. Every one of us is different. Things effect me in certain ways that others may not be give a second thought. That's what this site is about. One persons perspective at a certain time at a certain place about a certain thing.

Soul searching was a big part of getting away. I've gotten out of town occasionally, mainly for work though so I didn't really bring my emotional baggage with me on those trips. Examining oneself is never the easiest thing to do. I don't like what I saw and felt in the past week so I'm going to have to take the Chris Rose route. I'm going to need some help.

It's been 16 months. 16 long months and I haven't moved on from the storm. I've finally accepted that fact. The anger of what happened is still inside, still bubbling up at times that confuse and frighten me. The storm still dominates my thoughts and my discussions and it's just not healthy. I will never be a person who lives for reality TV, the hot new CD from Beyonce or what kind of clothes I wear. That's just not who I am. I give a shit about this city and this country. Not to say that those who ACCEPT that the national news feeds us stories about Ms America and her personal problems don't care about city or country. It's just about priorities and it seems that New Orleans is not really a priority anymore. OK, I accept that too. Doesn't make it right but I accept that some folks just don't have the inner fortitude to care anymore. One guy, as I was changing planes actually asked how New Orleans was- 3 YEARS after the storm. I didn't have the energy to tell him we just hit a year a couple months back.

I have to find that happy medium where I can still LIVE life and care. I'm not there yet. I've got some issues that I'm going to need to confront. I'm jealous of everyone who doesn't have to feel this pain on a daily basis. I get angry with people who aren't coming back. I know that's not right, but again its one person, one place, one time, one feeling. I get even more angry at the one's who come back and sit on their fucking ass like this is vacation land. Drinking "forty's" on the porch at 7:30 in the morning as I'm going to work. If I didn't think I'd get shot I'd roll the window down and tell those fuckers to get a good damn job and start helping instead of keeping us down. I get frustrated at those who don't want progress around here, who just want the status quo so they can keep their power and keep the sheep in the herd. I want to make a change but the stagnation that has struck New Orleans has infiltrated my progress and now I'm mentally burned out or something to that degree.

If I didn't love the company I work for, I might have already checked out. I've thought of it, late at night, staring at the ceiling, wondering if there will be a future in New Orleans for me. I'm guessing we all have thought about it, maybe it would be easier to move on somewhere else. To start over somewhere that has things that work. Somewhere that's not going to be a social experiment for, oh say the next 20 years. For now anyway, my eyes have been opened. I'm going to stick around for awhile, attempt to get some help (yeah e-mail if you know a Doc who can take patients) and see if I can live life. Quote from Shawshank Redemption says it best: Either get busy living or get busy dying. The latter might be easier some days but the former sure holds promise.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Our totally worthless Granny Governor

My blood has begun to boil again. After weeks of self-imposed attempts at not caring about our loser leaders, it seems I just cannot get away from their stupidity. The latest involves our fearless Governor Kathleen Babbling Blanco.
In a letter dated March 7th, 2006, our wonderful Granny Governor asked the Feds to explore turning Interstates 10 and 12, 360 miles of them in the state of Louisiana, into a "Toll Facility", meaning the state wants to start charging you every time you need to get onto the interstate.
Babbling Blanco states in her letter to the Feds "As you know, the southern portion of Louisiana was recently devastated by two hurricanes. We believe this project is essential to the economic recovery of the state and to better prepare for future events."
By future events I guess that she means that Contraflow would really be smooth by making people PAY to get the hell outta dodge.
Please remember, this is a state that just passed a budget of 27.6 BILLION. For a state that has 4.5 million people living here. And the bigwigs in Baton Rouge don't have enough money, or enough of our money. It is pure insanity.
Senator David Vitter has sent KBB a memo basically telling her that she is making a fool of everyone in this region. There is no way that I-10 and I-12 will be turned into toll roads. It just ain't happening. Plus she decided to go for it without even bringing anyone else into the loop.
"Finally, Governor, I regret that this very significant formal submission was made by your Administration to the federal government with no adequate briefing of me or, as far as I know, other members of our delegation."
Just WTF is happening here? Was she soooo batty AK that she just started sending out request for anything that popped into her head? Has anyone ever really seen her and Ray Nagin together at the same time? I really am beginning to think they are one and the same.
Yeah Kathleen, it's not hard enough living here with crime, no hospitals, no health care, no schools, no local leadership, cost of living expenses that are out of control and you, our dear wonderful granny governor wants to stick it to New Orleanians even more...for what? Maybe a new sugar mill in Bunkie? Jesus H Christ we are so unbelievably fu**ed.

Suicide by cop

I had not heard that phrase before. Maybe I am just clueless or so out of it these days that the phrase zipped through my head and kept on moving. Last night, someone I know, a photographer for the TP, John McCusker basically went out of his way to have the police in Orleans Parish take him down.
You would think that the way things have gone around here, the cops would have not had an issue and would have finished the job for the guy but thankfully they finally corralled him by Taser after he had pinned one of the officers between the police cruiser and his own car and then took off again, driving down St Charles, running over any sign that might have been for a construction company.
Police quoted the photographer during the first attempt to stop him as saying "Just kill me, get it over with, kill me."
John's home in Lakeview was destroyed and he was under-insured. He is one of the thousands of people in New Orleans who's financial life has been flipped and flopped to where he saw no way out. BK, I would have said he was a nut. AK, I feel for him and everyone who is experiencing the same effects from the storm and our loss. This is a man who is a quality human being, a professional of the kind that this city needs more of.
If someone like John can feel that there is no hope, no help for good quality citizens of this great state and country, then none of us are safe. Stay strong people and please talk to someone, anyone before giving up.
On another note, I feel the need to apologize for not posting for awhile. I have not been a happy camper for awhile now and just couldn't get anything going in the noggin.

How bout some truth?

I haven't posted for awhile due to my belief that with the election going on, I needed to keep my opinions to myself. So I'm back. Rejoice or spit coffee on your computer- it's really your choice.
The frustration that others and I feel lately (9 months isn't lately I guess) is rooted in the FACT that no one in a leadership role can just speak the plain truth.
Is anyone really surprised that the announced date for the new floodgates being installed will not be ready by the target date? Or should that just be placed in the No Sh*t file and move on?
We have two finalist for Mayor (maybe we should run this like American Idol, vote off one candidate per week) that just cannot tell us what they REALLY mean.
We have a US run Government agency that says, "Of course these floodgates will be ready by the start of Hurricane season" then two weeks before the season starts, we hear oh wait, they won't be ready.
The Corps of Engineers says all the levees will be up to par (hahahahaha- sorry, couldn't help it) then we find out that levee's all over town are leaning in all types of different directions. Independent engineers say breeches would have happened elsewhere if not for the breeches that occurred first.
We're told that the industrial canal levee protecting the Lower Ninth Ward (where very very few people are actually back and residing) have been strengthened and raised. But oh wait, doing that makes the other side of that levee (which protects the area where EVERYONE is now living) lower and thus susceptible to overtopping and possibly flooding the part of the city that we thought was safe.
We're told that rainfall in the city won't be a problem. Until we actually get some rainfall and the pumps are turned on and oh wait....the pumps don't work, no one thought to TEST them after they sat in water for three weeks. So now a sprinkle and we're all looking for canoe's to get the hell outta dodge.
We're told "Here is the city's evacuation plan- Planes, trains and buses will take us to safety". Oh wait, no one asked for help securing these planes trains and buses plus no one else in the state has been advised of our plan.
We're told "I'm about inclusion and rebuilding New Orleans" then we find out the guy who said that went ahead and spent 400k of taxpayer money to refurbish his state office and private living quarters.
What do we have to do to get the TRUTH from these people?

Planes & Crazy Peeps

Business flight to North Carolina to check up on some business. Flight from New Orleans to Atlanta, no issues. We're all in the same boat, why would we get upset with each other? We save that for driving around the city yelling at each other anyway.
But the Atlanta to ________ North Carolina flight is a different story all together.
The plane is packed. Not an empty seat in coach. I don't mind sitting with the common people, hell I am a common person. The couple next to me seem nice enough, he looks like Ron Howard -Opie and she looks like a older Martha Stewart.They start the chit-chat, not me. I just answer their questions. I'm in radio, it's a business trip, blah blah blah until:
"Where ya from?"
(Mind) Don't say New Orleans, don't say New Orleans
(Mouth) "New Orleans"
The shit hits the fan. The couple that asked the question recoil in horror. The woman across the aisle- she's is not attractive, she looks like Chief Wiggum from the Simpsons-drops a portion of the philly cheese steak sandwich she's eating on the middle of her rather sizeable lap. The two older gentlemen in the row in front of me spin around so fast I think that the superhero "The Flash" is flying to ________ North Carolina with me. One looks like Mack Brown of the University of Texas. The other reminds me of Walter Cronkike for some reason.
Opie, Martha, Chief Wiggum, Mack and Walter. Plus ole New Orleans Dan.
Martha: "Why the hell would anyone want to live there?"
(mind)- Cause it's a free fucking country you backroad hick"
(mouth)- It's a beautiful enchanting city.
Opie: "I went there once, all them black people, never again"
(mind)- Thanks for the info Grand Wizard of the KKK
(mouth)- I see
Mack: "Why ya'll keep asking for money?"
(mind)- I wish you had kept some of your cash cause you need some mouthwash- or I need a gas mask
(mouth)- Well rebuilding a city is not cheap.
Walter: "I sure am glad that they ain't gonna rebuild that place"
(mind)- What the fuck you say mother fucker?
(mouth)- Your incorrect there sir
Wiggum: "All I got to say is I wish you people would leave Atlanta"
(mind)- Ummmm I'm a white guy
(mouth)- Who are "you people?"
Opie: "All ya'll from New Orleans. Everyone in Atlanta is tired of supporting ya'll. Ya'll need to go home"
(mind)- You know, my hands would fit around your neck perfectly
(mouth)- Sadly there are not really any homes left
Martha: "Are you living in a tent?" then giggles
(mind)- You savage bitch. I want to drag you to the bathroom and stuff you and your tired withered vagina down the toilet.
(mouth)- no ma'am, I'm not but I know many people who are right nowWiggum: "I don't want no more of my tax dollars being spent on you people"
(mind)- good idea, that sandwich and the other TWO in the bag must have cost you alot(mouth)- Trust me ma'am, we don't want anymore of your money
Wiggum: "What you mean by that?"
(mind)- Your money should be spent on a expedition to find your first chin
(mouth)- We just want the levee's rebuilt
Mack: "The what rebuilt?"
Walter: "They already rebuilt your levees"
Opie: "Ya'll got 80 billion, ain't that enough"
Mack: "Oh those- Bush said ya'll got the money for those"
(mind)- I will kill all of you in 10 seconds flat.
(mouth)- It's actually 85 million and that's not for levee's. That's for other stuff. It's a kinda big area and theres alot to do
Wiggum: "Why should we give ya'll money for that? We don't need no levee's in Atlanta."
(mind)- Where were you when we really needed you? Your butt coulda stopped the levee breach by itself.
(mouth)- Well you need interstates in Atlanta right?
Opie, Martha, Chief Wiggum, Mack and Walter all lean forward waiting for the wisdom. "Yeah" is the group answer.
(mouth)- Well the federal government built our levees and they failed. The Federal government also builds interstates. Now if that loop that goes around Atlanta collapsed some day with a bunch of cars on it, you would want it rebuilt right?
Opie, Martha, Chief Wiggum, Mack and Walter all look at each other and then back at me.
Wiggum: "That don't make no sense"
Opie: "I don't get it"
Martha: "Huh?"
Mack: "I'm not from Atlanta"
Walter: "Damn right they better rebuild it"
(mouth)-Well the levee's breaking are what caused all the problems. So we feel the same way as you would, that the people who built it wrong should fix it.
Mack: "Your full of it- that black mayor of yours is what caused the problems. He shoulda used them buses."
(mind)- If I wouldn't go to jail I would pull your lungs out of your body RIGHT FREAKIN NOW!!!
(mouth)- He wishes he had used them too, I promise.
Wiggum: "This country don't need no New Orleans anyway"
(mind)- stay seated stay seated stay seated
(mouth)- The New Orleans area gives alot to this country ma'am- you might want to check your facts
Opie: "That wasn't nice"
Martha: "That was rude"
Wiggum: "whad you say to me Mister?"
J.N., the flight attendent appears: "Sir , we will be able to accommodate your move to first class"
(mind)- ummmm request? What? First class who?
(mouth)- Thank you so much.
I'm gone. J.N. tells me she heard the whole converstation.
J.N.: "Honey, I'm from New Orleans. You need some first class pampering after that discussion"
(mind)- Thank God for Angels
(mouth)- Thank God, your a Angel.
Hey Mack, Wiggum, Martha, Opie and Walter: From everyone in New Orleans : "Go fuck yourself."

State of Disarray

My body and mind are in a settled state of disarray. I?m here, I have a place to live, but I?m just here. I feel lost. I live in the city but I don?t know the city anymore. I know literally no one here. I leave the house, walk the streets, meet and talk with people but they are not who I knew, they don?t give me comfort; they give me idle chit chat. It?s certainly not their fault; we live in the same world, the same emptiness. Of what was had and now is gone. Alone in a lonely city. I have hit the proverbial wall.
Now what? Not in the sense of what can go wrong but more in line of what do I do with myself now? Where?s the manual for restarting your life? Making new friends? Is there a pamphlet of something that I missed somewhere? I didn?t see anything like that in the surviving after a disaster kit I got from the Red Cross.
It?s not like I haven?t restarted before. I?m in radio, its part of the gig. But those were all times when I wanted to restart. Choosing to do something and having it forced upon you are two different things. This isn?t just restarting my life, it?s restarting a city. It?s everyone talking about OUR future. About this wonderful, heart breaker of a city and what we can do as citizens to not make the same lazy decisions we have in the past.
Anyone want to join me for a coffee?

Boom Boom

It's been a very busy week for me. The radio station is finally back on the air, who knows who's listening though. But anyway, I wanted to post about this earlier in the week and just couldn't get to it but it is eating me up. If you pay attention to the news (and who around here can't right now?) then you saw some of what are now being called Katrina ?Konspiracy? Kooks .
Tuesday December 7th, hopefully a day that won't live in infamy in New Orleans- Dyan French tesitfied in front of Congress (yes the same Congress we need levee money from) that she "knew" that the levee's in New Orleans were "blown up" as in "Boom Boom" during Hurricane Katrina just like the levee's were "blown up" during Betsy in 65. I know this woman has been in this community helping others survive after the flooding. That is not the point. We as a city cannot afford to have "wacko's" going to DC and telling people on national TV that the levee's were blown up on purpose. There is too much at stake for this region, for the only people that the rest of the country see in relation to what is going on in New Orleans RIGHT NOW, to be citizens who are off their rocker.
And who picked these people as the people who should represent our city and state in front of Congress? I'm working hard to find out. Congressman Jefferson (who was late for the meeting by 40 minutes anyway) is trying to pass the blame to Cynthia McKinney from GA, congresswoman. Now both of them are avoiding our phone calls. I do not get why a congresswoman would have the choice of who to bring in front of congress. Why is she the one?
Too hard on this women you say? Okay- let's think about it. The Federal, State and Local governments all failed in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The prez was over in Tehas chillin with a beer in one hand and probably a joint in the other. Our wonderful governor was "taking a nap" when the feds called or she was getting instructions on what to wear for the camera's- she'll have a comittee look at it to figure out which one. And the mayor was too busy pointing fingers at everyone else to handle his own biz. So we know that these three entities are very unorganized at best. So how in the world could anyone think they could "plan" to "blow up" or "Boom Boom" the levee's when they cannot even get out of each others way?